At first it wasn’t so easy but then it was
Decisions you make today will affect decisions you need to make tomorrow; saying yes to this means you're saying no something else. What this and that can be are your choices.
My entire career I’ve felt as though I made decisions that didn’t serve who I was. I found saying no challenging and I took on too much. I thought I could push through the distain that grew deeper and deeper as my career progressed, but those feelings of misalignment persisted.
One thing that has remained a constant in my life is my connection to the outdoors. I chose careers with the government that would allow me to maintain that important, intrinsic connection while providing me with the opportunity to explore amazing parts of Canada. Through that career I have been able to fish and hunt in some of the greatest locations in the World. As I write this, I feel like a spoiled kid complaining that their fat bike’s Bluetooth speaker isn’t loud enough. The freedom of choice holds a higher value in my life today. The jobs that once scratched an itch couldn’t sustain the persistency and consistency of my need to explore more of who I am. A new chapter emerges from the ashes, left over are the remnants of a 20-year pursuit of the game to which I couldn’t conquer.
In life I’ve always been in search of new roads, trails, or places to explore. In 2021 my family and I took a new road, one with no guard rails to keep us between the lines. We’re opening an outfitting store located in our hometown of Wawa, Ontario Canada. Wawa has always been known as a premier fishing and hunting destination. In 1964 the TransCanada Highway pushed through this area opening a whole new outdoor experience and a new era for Wawa. Prior to the making of the TransCanada Hwy, anglers and hunters took the long trek via train to access some of the most remote locations in Ontario at the time.
The shores of Lake Superior have sustained life for thousands of years. In the early years Brook Trout, Lake Trout and Whitefish were the main target species for local Indigenous communities. As European settlers began to explore and develop this area the spread of invasive species such as Rainbow Smelt, Salmon, Steelhead and several FrankenTrout subspecies now have persistent populations in the Great Lakes.
I grew up fishing Frankentrout and Salmon but as a teen I discovered Steelhead fishing. This newfound passion drove my interest in angling but more importantly I discovered the intricacy and detail of building an effective Steelhead rig. This discovery would form my path and I was completely oblivious to it.
As I entered my late 30’s I couldn’t help looking back to get a sense of what my future could hold for me. This was a sobering reality. The thought of looking back to see what is front of me for the first time in my life sounded terrible. The predictability of it was terrifying to me. As a river will flow, a true course will change and evolve over time, new eddies form, banks erode and flooded basins dry and regenerate. Our lives can reflect a river finding new paths and carving out new routes. These new routes can allow for growth and regeneration of who you are today and who you can be tomorrow. This wasn’t so easy at first.
Today, I choose to carve a new path. As I write the first of what will be many blog posts, I’m excited to share the pain the triumphs of starting and growing an outdoor community, centered around a tiny store tucked away in Wawa Ontario Canada.
Kyle Wood - Superior Coast Outfitters